The Quick and Dirty Guide to Freelance Writing

The Quick and Dirty Guide to Freelance WritingFor the last few years I’ve been chewing on the idea of writing a book about the business of freelance writing. Every few weeks someone e-mails me out of the internet ether asking how they can jumpstart their writing career. It turns out that most journalism programs offer a lot of advice about how to write a compelling story, but fail almost completely at teaching their students how to make a living if they don’t have a staff job.

In an age of declining advertising revenues, thinner magazines and ubiquitous free media it would seem that it’s harder than ever to make a name for yourself in the pages of mainstream publications. I wrote The Quick and Dirty Guide to Freelance Writing to buck the assumption that writers have to give their work away for free if they want to break into the industry.

Writing, it turns out, is just like any other business. Yes, it’s difficult to get up and running, but with a little perseverance and a few great story ideas, there is nothing preventing someone from making a name for themselves. In the book, I dissect the several different reliable revenue streams for freelancers, break down the ways that most magazines are structured and diagram out the typical lifecycle of a story from its inception through its eventual publication. The book explores the proper way to deal with publishing contracts (ProTip: don’t sign away copyright or movie rights) and includes almost a dozen examples of successful pitches that I’ve sold over the last ten years of my career.

I think that this will be a useful tool for any person trying to break into the business. It should also be a good guide for writers who are already making a go of it, but are having some trouble mapping out what their future looks like. I encourage people to understand that their ideas have real-world value and that some stories are worth much, much more than the going per-word rate that most magazines offer. Instead, a magazine story can continue generating revenue for months, or even years, after it has been published.

More than anything else, I wrote this book because I want writers to understand that if we stand up for the value of our own work then the overall market for the written word will improve as well. Once you start smartly negotiating contracts and considering the long term success of your own career then writing transforms into more than just an art. It becomes a profession.

Originally I planned to publish the guide as a free e-book on Amazon. Unfortunately, once I had spent the better part of two days fiddling with the formatting for Amazon-supported e-readers I discovered that the lowest price that Amazon will allow for an e-book is $2.99. So, if you have a few spare bucks go on over and download it. Your money goes to support a good cause. Namely, my grocery bill.

However, since I originally envisioned giving the book away at no cost, there is another way to get the Quick and Dirty Guide to Freelance Writing. For an unlimited time I’m offering the ebook as a free download to anyone who signs up for my email list. I don’t send out a lot of e-mail updates about my work, but when I do I try to pack my messages with useful writing tips, and, notifications of and new magazine features that I have coming up.

So click this link, give me your email address, and download your own copy of the Quick and Dirty Guide to Freelance Writing today.


  1. James L   •  

    Was about to scan Amazon for the book when I saw that your sending a copy free via email list. Did that but got a 404 link. I’ll send you an email asking if I am looking at the wrong spot.

    • sgcarney   •     Author

      Just try that link again. It should be working. Sometimes the server has a hiccup.

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